A couple of weeks ago, my in-laws made the long drive down to Texas for a visit. They are farmers and aren't able to come very often, so it was a special treat, especially for my kids.
They came in late Thursday and were driving back home early Sunday morning. Since it was such a quick trip, I decided at the last minute to keep my kids home from school on Friday so we could take a day trip. Both our parents are aging and I wanted my kids to have as much time as possible with their grandparents.
We had a wonderful weekend (which included a community garage sale and many desserts!)
I didn't give much thought to my kid's absence until it was time to write a note to the school. And that's when I remembered that all grades given on days of unexcused absences (basically everything except sickness and doctor's visits are unexcused) result in a maximum of a 70% grade.
Basically, my kid's missed a day of school and of all the grades taken on that day, (including my daughter's big English test) the most they could make was a 70 because of an unexcused absence.
So. I wrote on the note "please excuse my children from being absent, they were under the weather."
I'm not proud and believe me, I justified it. I convinced myself that it was okay because they were my kids and it was a good reason. It was a good reason, right? I mean, what if my kid's grandparents die?
I think I had played the situation over in my head enough to feel okay about it.
Until my son got home from school on Monday.
"Mom? Today at school. I felt really weird. My teacher asked me why I missed school and wanted to know if I felt better. My stomach was in knots and I didn't know what to say," he struggled to say.
And that's when it hit me. I lied.
I didn't exaggerate or stretch the truth or bend the rules for a good cause.
I started explaining to my son about the rule and grades and......and I stopped.
What exactly was I trying to say? That it's okay to lie if you don't like the rules? It's okay to work around guidelines if we don't like them? That a 70% on a test isn't good enough?
I grabbed him by the hand and said, "Son, I lied. I'm sorry. I didn't like the rule at school, so I tried to get around it. It's my fault you felt that way. Will you forgive me for putting you in that situation?" And then I added, "Next time, just tell the teacher your Mom kept you home." Because after all, I am human, y'all.
He actually heaved a sigh of relief.
I beat myself up about this. Here I am getting caught in a lie by my own child! Authoring a newsletter on building character in kids, while confusing my own. Ugh.
I'm sure you can understand why I almost didn't share this story with you. But I've forgiven myself, God has forgiven me and I'm thankful for the opportunity for growth.
Parenting is hard work, especially when you're the model.
Food for the Soul:
"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is
blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart."
Yesterday (Wed), I traveled about an hour to speak at a Mom's group (I was invited by a blog reader). They ignored my nervous jitters and made me feel at home. This was one of the many stories I shared and they made me feel normal. Thank you, sweet ladies! I enjoyed it.
For those wondering (I've talked about this some on Twitter) I ended up contacting my kid's school and telling them that my kid's should have received an unexcused absence because I wasn't completely forthright about the reason. The school chose not to punish my kids and said they hoped we had a great time with our family. Good lesson learned here!